by Michael Sansolo
A few weeks ago I received an emailed update from my temple announcing a series of upcoming seminars. The first topic seemed both benign and timely: The power of saying hello.
Makes sense. During a time of social isolation, this is an appropriate subject, designed to help people understand how to better make social connections with strangers.
Then things got dark. A lot darker. Because the next three seminars were focused on a) how to survive a hostage situation, b) how to recognize suspicious or potentially dangerous behavior and c) how to minister to others who might have significant wounds.
It was a reminder of the reality in which we all live. Especially at a temple, in a time when anti-semitic behavior is on the rise.
My temple has already had one episode of vandalism and a few years back changed the landscaping to create permanent impediments to a truck bomb. I am not a regular temple-goer, but it’s been a long time since I attended services that didn’t have a substantial and visible armed police presence on site.
Sad to say, there is a business lesson in all this.
Far too many recent events have reminded us that stores have become especially vulnerable to attacks and that the presence of firearms in open carry states can quickly lead to panic.
For that reason, I think the sad, yet pro-active approach being taken by my temple is something others need to emulate. We all hope that our personal worlds - schools, churches and temples, stores, malls and more - will never experience random violence, but hopes aren’t enough. We need to prepare for whatever might happen and hope that preparation is never put into action.
Much like my temple, retailers need to educate staff on all the same kinds of issues so that they and customers can best be cared for in case the not-so-unthinkable happens.
But I'd like to think there is a lesson in my temple's offering a seminar on the power of saying hello.
Perhaps by greeting people (both customers and fellow staffers) and making that a standard and regular occurrence, and by giving staff tips on how to spot potentially dangerous situations, we can prevent things from escalating. At a minimum it might help create a friendlier store environment for everyone.
Most certainly, it couldn’t hurt.
Michael Sansolo can be reached via email at email@example.com.
His book, “THE BIG PICTURE: Essential Business Lessons From The Movies,” co-authored with Kevin Coupe, is available here.
And, his book "Business Rules!" is available from Amazon here.